Curbs back in Bihar as Covid case positivity rate goes up
Bihar re-introduced curbs, limiting guests at marriage functions to 100 and those at “shradh” (death) ceremony to 25, while allowing offices to function at only 50% of their manpower strength in six districts, including Patna, as its worst fears of a spike in coronavirus cases post festival season seemed to be coming true, with the case positivity rate going up during the past one week.
The curbs, which came into effect with immediate effect Thursday, will be effective till December 3. The government will review the situation and decide on a possible extension of its order after that, said Amir Subhani, Bihar’s additional chief secretary, home, while addressing a presser Thursday evening.
The government limited attendance in offices — both government and private —to half their manpower strength in Patna, Begusarai, Jamui, Vaishali, West Champaran and Saran. These districts, particularly Patna, had shown a “more than normal increase in the case positivity rate”. Those under essential services were, however, kept out of the purview of the order, said Subhani.
He said staff at offices had been regulated in keeping with the guidelines of the ministry of home affairs (MHA) for cities having a case positivity rate of over 10.
“Patna has a case positivity rate of around 18%, but the other five districts have it less than 5. However, they have shown a more than normal increase in the case positivity rate over the last 3-4 days, prompting us to take preemptive steps,” said Pratyaya Amrit, Bihar’s principal secretary health and disaster management department.
The officers, however, did not share the district-wise positivity rate break-up.
Subhani also advised devotees to avoid going to river banks for a holy dip on the occasion of the upcoming Kartik Purnima festival (November 30) as there was possibility of infection spreading through air and water.
The state, he said, had also issued advisory urging people above 60 years of age and children under 10 years of age, pregnant women, those suffering from fever and other critical diseases from venturing out during the ensuing festival. People were also advised to avoid crowded buses and public transport.
The number of guests for marriages had been restricted to 100, including waiters for serving food, said Subhani. Similarly, guests for “shradh” ceremony had been restricted to 25.
The guests would have to wear face masks. Those hosting such functions will have to ensure thermal scanning of guests and make arrangements for sanitisers. Door handles, knobs, furniture and other surfaces, which were exposed, would have to be cleaned regularly and sanitised as far as possible.
Guests having symptoms of Covid-19 will not be allowed to attend such functions.
The government also banned any marriage procession and DJ on roads. These were, however, permitted at the marriage venue, keeping the cap on guests at 100.
The number of passengers in public transport plying within Patna and those for inter-district travel from Patna had been limited to half their capacity.
These steps, said officials, had been taken to contain the spread of the infection in the state.
“We are keeping a close watch on the situation and taking every effort to contain the spread of infection,” Amrit signed off.
Prabhat Kumar Jha, director, information and public relations department, was also present on the occasion.
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